Real Life Story - Yoga as a Mindful Exercise
Friend of Primal Story and Fitness Instructor, Rachel Gatenby, teaches a yoga based exercise class with an integrated meditation session.
This is one of Rachel's favourite classes to teach as, as well as improving overall muscle tone and posture, it also helps to connect the mind with the body by focusing on breathing and movement. Rachel says "I have quite a busy life with a full-time job by day, and a fitness instructor by night. I also have a young son, so balancing all of these things is a bit of a juggling act and can be quite stressful. Practising yoga and meditation helps to clear my mind, be present, and reduces feelings of stress and anxiety".
And Rachel's not the only one. There is an ever-growing movement towards wellness exercises including yoga, meditation and mindfulness, as people continue to discover the amazing associated health benefits including:
- Stress reduction
- Improved mood
- Lowers cortisol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces risk for a range of health conditions, including diabetes and obesity
No matter who you are, young or old, yoga is an exercise for everyone as long as you work within your own limits. Meditative practises reduce the fight or flight response in the brain which can help to lower cortisol levels, resulting in a better nights sleep - another important factor for improved well being. Cortisol is the hormone released by the the body when under stress, thus given the nick-name, the "stress hormone". While this can potentially be a life-saving fight or flight response, a prolonged state of stress can lead to an over production of cortisol, which has a number of negative side effects including:
- Weight gain
- Thinning of skin
- Muscle weakness
- Severe fatigue
- High blood pressure
So, don't feel guilty for switching a vigorous spin class for a more relaxing yoga session, especially if you are experiencing stress, you could be swimming against the tide. By mixing your workouts with yoga and a daily 5 minute meditation routine, you can help to reduce those pesky cortisol levels which actually contribute to weight gain.
Want help with meditation?
Primal Story offer a range of meditation aids including mala beads to assist with your meditative practises. Simply push each bead and repeat a positive affirmation at each bead, until you have completed the set. A simple daily practice that can be easily fitted in to busy schedules.